Looking For Structure While Adding Responsibilities To The Children? See How Our School-Year Started!
All things we want our children to have, when they’re older, so they are able to lead fulfilling lives and, to be honest, so we don’t have to do everything for them. But when is it the right time?
How about now!
A week before school started for my children – ages ranging from 9 to 4 – I started modeling the morning routine, while my wife and I continued to follow the exact same evening and bedtime routine she set in place when we had one child and he was still drooling and in diapers. That consistency has clearly displayed our expectations of the children and it makes the time we have with them after school more organized and enjoyable.
(Nothing screams routine than the summer when for one week the kids had no programs, no camp, and were going crazy looking for things to do. “I’m bored” was a common expression of frustration from the kids many times during each and every day.)
With all that being said, here is the schedule I presented to the children on Labour Day, and we worked through today, their first day of school. I’m sure there will be some tweaking done, but I can say that this morning’s routine was the smoothest it has been in a long time – for them and for me!
Children’s Schedule for the 2014 / 2015 School Year.
Before you come downstairs in the morning, please:
• Make Your Bed
• Get Dressed
• Clean Room / Tidy the floor
• Say good morning to your father and to each other
• Drink a glass / cup of water
• Have a piece of fruit
• Help with, or make your own, breakfast
• Eat it
When You Have Finished Breakfast:
• Rinse off your dishes
• Place them in the dishwasher, or
• Wash them, dry them and put them away
• Make sure your place is clean (no food on your chair or the floor)
Help with Lunches:
• Make sure your lunch box is out, and put in it;
• Apples sauce with a spoon
• Fill your water bottle
Go Upstairs To Your Bathroom:
• Wash your face
• Brush your hair
• Wait for Daddy to help you brush your teeth
*Hug and Kiss Mummy
• Sunscreen on / Snowpants on
• Make sure your glasses are in your bag
• Place your lunch and water bottle in your bag
8am – LEAVING the house to walk to school.
Home from school:
• Wash your hands
• Bring your lunch box to the kitchen and empty it
• Put dishes in dishwasher
• Put lunchbox on the counter
• Empty your water bottle
• Put water bottle on the counter
• Play / read / relax / enjoy.
• NO electronics during the week
• NO TV during the week
• Come to the kitchen to see what you can do to help with dinner
• Set the kitchen table – plates, cutlery, glasses, napkins, water, and the mats in the middle of the table
• Practice piano
• Spirit of Math
• Regular homework
• When You Are Finished, Ask to be Excused
• Thank Mummy for making you another amazing dinner
• After dinner take your plate, cutlery and glass to the counter. Put your napkin in the recycling under the sink
• Rinse plate and cutlery and place in the dishwasher
• Place glass in the dishwasher
• Put everything in your bag for tomorrow and place it at the front door.
• If you are having a snack, make sure you clean up properly afterwards
• Put your dirty clothes into your hamper
• Brush your teeth
• Hugs and Kisses
• NO coming out of bed! Get a good night’s sleep for another amazing day tomorrow.
Good night and sleep tight!
We love you!
The kids love the schedule, although my boys prefer a much simpler routine based on the current WWE Champion Brock Lesner;
My boys will be experiencing sleep away camp this summer. When I was young I remember my mother asking me, and me providing an anxiety-ridden reply that had 2-letters, a “N” and a “O”.
In hindsight, I should have gone, or they should have forced me. Instead, by 14-years-old I was working in the summers and the rest shall we say is history.
So I want my kids to try sleep-over camp, meet new and interesting people (boring ones too, to be honest) and determine on their own if they want to go next year or not.
My 9-year-old has already asked if he can stay for the month if he wants.
I think what helps with the transition is the fact that we’ve been getting them ready for this for the better part of 5-months, from talking about it, to getting them new clothes and items for camp.
So how does all of this relate to the 4-year-old?
This was the morning conversation about camp;
Boo: “My brothers are going to camp?”
Boo: “They will be sleeping there?”
Boo: “I will be going to the same camp?”
Me: “No. They will be away at camp, then when they come back they will go to the same camp as you.”
Boo: “I will be coming home from camp every day… On the bus?”
Boo: “So my brothers will be at camp. They will sleep there, and then they will come back and we will all go to camp together? I will not sleep at camp, but I will come home and sleep at home?”
Me: “Yes! That is exactly what will happen.”
Boo: “GREAT! Whew. I need a break…”
I feel like I am preaching to the choir when I start a post on a blog aimed primarily at parents which has the title; “Can I Please Get Some Sleep!” As mommies and daddies you know that when you decide to have children one of the most important things you have to come to grips with is the fact that sleeping in, and 8-9 hours of solid sleep are a thing of the past. It’s just no longer a part of your life, much in the same way combing my hair became a thing of the past when it all started to fall out. You have to accept it, give it up and then move on, otherwise you will find yourself a constant ball of angst and stress.
Even though we have long since accepted the fact that sleeping a full-night’s is no longer an option for you, the past couple of weeks at The Urban Daddy household have been like no other…
Let me explain what is happening here.
First off, our kids have always had a very structured day, so their evening begins with dinner, followed by kitchen clean up, bath/shower time, a snack, book (us or them reading) and then lights out by their set bedtime. Boo, at just over 3-years-old is the first off to bed. Her bed time is 7pm. Ever since our summer vacation she has decided that bed-time routine begins with her falling to sleep in our bed, laying on mummy, in “Mummies bed” as she likes to call it. She also needs to have pee’d, brushed her teeth, and have at least her favourite stuffed animal of the day snuggled against her before she dozes off.
Once Boo is asleep, I carry her to her room and hope that she stays asleep during the walk. It’s a temporary move, however.
Boo is now at that age where we need to teach her to tell time so she will not get out of her bed before 7am (like her brothers), so right now she meanders over to our room at all hours of the night, blankies tucked under he arms and she climbs into our bed and snuggles up on top of my wife / her mummy.
Problem is, one awaken, my wife cannot get back to sleep. I’m not so unlucky, and all I need is 10 seconds and I am back out cold. So of course, Boo comes in, wakes up my wife, who 1 minute to see if I wake up too (which I do not), then kicks me to take our daughter back to her room, which I’m happy to do.
But parents, you know that once a child arrives in your room, they do not want to go back to sleep in their bed, so Boo then goes through her routine of stall tactics; “I have to pee”, “I want you to sleep with me”, I’m thirsty”, “I’m hungry”… Once all that is taken care of, I convince her that I am going to lay with her until she’s asleep, and once she’s back asleep I slide back to my bed, or sometimes I just fall back to sleep there beside her and hope that she hasn’t jumped back out of bed and into our room.
The problem continues because I’m trying to not fall asleep in her room – I want to break her of the habit of coming it and waking us up because she knows she either sleeps in our bed or she gets me to stay with her. It’s tiring.
So it figures then that once we start to break the pattern we get a night like the one I’m about to describe, which happened last week.
Early last week, Boo arrived in our room – an hour and a half after her bedtime – and hoped into bed. We were watching TV together so I got up to tidy up the house and let Boo and her mummy lay down to sleep. Before I left, however, Boo asked me for water. “I’m thirsty”, she said.
I gave her water and she guzzled some back, then she started to cough / choke, so we both turned to look at her.
“I almost threw up!” she said.
Third child, I’m thinking in my head, “No, you were just choking on the water. You’re okay now, go to sleep, I reassured her.”
“No, I’m going to vomit!” she follows with, now opening her mouth to show me that she threw up in her mouth and did not appreciate the acidic taste.
“It’s okay, just got to sleep, please” I replied.
“No, I’m going to vomit” she repeated to me. “I’m going to the toilet.”
Up she popped out of the bed, and then she tore off into our bathroom.
“Turn on the light!” she blurted as she zoomed into the bathroom. I looked at my wife and we nodded in agreement that I should at least go turn on the lights for her.
So of course, upon turning on the lights, she proceeds to vomit into the toilet… Twice.
Oops, I thought.
“I vomited in the toilet”, she pointed out to her previously unconvinced father.
“Yes you did. How do you feel now?” I asked her.
And this episode was just the beginning, which saw us change our bed twice, including the duvet and it’s cover off to the laundry room with her blankies, her bed sheet, her under-pad and about 10 towels.
Now, Six-year-old Stewie is a completely different story… This kid looks like he is going to pass out exhausted by 7pm, and he gets right into bed and reads or draws, but he sleeps SO soundly. He gets up at the creak of the floor or the sound of thunder and races into our room and snuggles in to bed with us. He’s getting so big that he can’t sneak in any more, we have to make room for him.
We now tell him when it may rain at night and he always asks if he can come sleep with us if there is thunder. We always say yes.
Then there is Linus.
He’s a great sleeper. We had Stewie at home and Linus slept through the birth.
So what would be the perfect gift for my wife??? A night at a hotel. Imagine… Food, WiFi, TV and a soft, comfy bed without distraction… I’m shuddering just thinking about it… For me. :)
How do your kids sleep?
I wanted to post this last week when it happened but did not get a chance but since that night this scenario has come up over and over again, just not to the same extent.
The night it first happened, was a special night in the Urban Daddy household. Determined to get back into some semblance of an exercise routine, I made up my mind early in the day that I would run on the treadmill that evening, by hook or by crook.
Since I’m still within my 3 month window of a new job with much greater responsibility, and the stress / excitement of meeting new people, learning new systems, figuring out acronyms and being on my toes all the time, I have found myself quite exhausted by about 10pm, which means that is around the time I tend to fall asleep on the couch when trying to; watch TV, read, blog, play Cityville, or… exercise. Very unusual for me as I’m used to 1-2am sleeps with 6am wake-ups.
This night was exercise night and the beginning of a new schedule for me.
New Routine – Thursday night.:
Eat dinner with the kids (not unusual at all)
Stewie piano lessons
Give Berry a bath
Linus annoy mummy during math lesson
Berry and Stewie before bed snack.
All kids in bed by 8:15 and I’m going to treadmill for 1/2 hour before I have a shower, then run out to grab milk. I really want to begin getting to bed at a reasonable hour – it is currently 12:33am so that is not happening.
Then it all fell apart.
Urban Mummy wanted to talk to me. We didn’t talk much the previous night and she barely saw me today and she wanted to chat but I patted my flabs and said, “Sorry hun! I have to treadmill”. She was disappointed.
I went to check on the kids and here is what happened;
Walked into Stewie’s room, and surprisingly he was still awake.
“Stay with me, Daddy”, he said.
“Sorry kiddo. I have to treadmill right now so I can shower, get milk and talk to your mother before she falls asleep or kills me”.
He was disappointed.
I went from there to Linus’ room where he was sitting up in his bed too.
“Lay with me, Daddy and tell me a story, please”.
“Can’t buddy. Have to go treadmill before mummy goes to sleep.
He gave me his pouty disappointed face.
Out I marched and right into Berry’s room where surprisingly she was up too.
“Rub my back and stay with me Daddy”, she said.
“Sorry, sweetie, I have to treadmill. Sing for me and I will tuck you in when I’m done.”
She was not happy either because she didn’t sing for me and she usually does. “Bla Bla Blacksheet”
Out I walked.
4 people wanted me to stay with them and 4 people got nothing.
Like I said in the title. Go big or go home. If you’re going to disappoint someone you might as well disappoint all of them.
Dads… You turn. What would you have done?
- Ah, those kids and the things they say… Was I this clever / funny as a kid? I doubt it. (urbandaddy.wordpress.com)
- Should I be concerned that my kids are smarter than me? (urbandaddy.wordpress.com)
- Are you hungrier than a 5-year-old? (urbandaddy.wordpress.com)